The missing jigsaw piece in my own journey to find my way back into my body - to embody who I am - occurred in the summer of 2015, when I moved to Mendocino, CA and met a shaman known for his somatic bodywork. This bodywork changed the way I physically and energetically inhabited my body, and for the first time in my life I felt like I could really MOVE with ease, without pain, and without inhibition. I started running on beaches, trails, streets, everywhere...and broke all my prosthetics in this process.
For the first time in my life, I understood what it really meant to not have the ability to physically move.
It was in this moment that my own past experiences and my future goals came into focus. Movement is not about winning. It is about living. At 22, I thought my worth was defined by medals and championships and accolades. Sitting on a Mendocino beach, looking down at yet another broken prosthetic leg a decade later I almost had to laugh: all I REALLY needed was reliable leg tech, a trail, and the clarity to be grateful for the abundance I had all around me in my life.
It’s now 2021 and I recently ran my first Ultramarathon in Utah. I DNF’d at 24.4 miles and it was honestly THE BEST RUN OF MY ENTIRE LIFE. 15 years ago, I know I would have felt differently, thinking that not crossing that finish line was somehow a failure. But these days running is something I do for me, to explore my own limits and hopefully inspire others as I move through the trail and the world. I am also working on my nonprofit Mendocino Movement Project, to support people of all abilities, limbs, and levels to get out there and move. I can’t wait to see how far we can go.
And in the meantime, there are more ultra-races on my horizon, like the Lake Sonoma 50-miler later this year, and many in between. I have a bad-ass Team USA running coach, awesome sponsors, an unbelievable prosthetics team, my support crew of friends and loved ones around me, and I’m doing what I love. Every day I get to wake up and run IS a win all on its own. And that feels pretty good to me.
You can see the miles of trails Zachary covers on his Instagram account: @zachary_movement